Link de exemplo
Ícone do botão Button Label
Ícone de carregamento

Platform Decommissioning

What happens when a production system comes to an end? Learn more about this activity!
Photo of a Petrobras offshore platform being removed from the sea by a vessel with a crane.

Decommissioning: a natural path for the oil and gas industry

Exploring new deposits, developing a field, installing a platform, and starting oil production. In a very simplified way, these are the basic steps of our exploration and production (E&P).

But have you ever wondered what happens after a production system reaches the end of its lifecycle? Very well, then: far from being simple, this new stage in itself is a challenge for any company – and requires a whole lot of technology, with focus on safety and the environment. Let's get to know this journey better?

Petrobras' offshore trajectory is long and diverse

The kickoff was in 1968, in the Guaricema field (SE), when we started our offshore production. In the following decade, the Campos Basin was discovered. This is where we built our authentic laboratory of innovations on a real scale that projected us internationally. In the 1990s, we dedicated ourselves to the development of deep water fields in the Campos Basin – culminating in the pre-salt discovery in the 2000s, which changed our production level.

Over 50 years of offshore experience is no small feat. Today, we are approaching the need to close down operations in several systems where oil and gas production has become unfeasible.

This is when what we call 'platform decommissioning' begins. Have you ever heard of it? It is the process that happens when the life cycle of a production system comes to an end and companies start to demobilize equipment.

What do we need to evaluate?

Before making this decision, we evaluate different options for recovering the productive capacity of the fields and maximizing the value of assets. Some of them are the development of projects that use technologies that stimulate production or optimize the asset, revitalization of the field, strategic partnerships, or even the sale of the asset. Always in line with the objective of generating value for the company.

And this is a natural process in the oil and gas industry – not least because offshore equipment does not last forever. More than 4,000 platforms have been removed from the Gulf of Mexico (USA), for example, since 1970. And more than 170 platforms have already been decommissioned in the North Sea.  

One of the great lessons of our trajectory was to raise the safety of our operations to a maximum value. This is why we are also preparing for this stage, relying on our technological capacity, on our partnerships, and on the experience of global players.

What do we do now?

We have been studying viable solutions for years to act safely and responsibly at the end of our operations.  This means that after deciding to decommission a production system, we will plan and execute activities in compliance with current regulations, analyzing viable alternatives based on multidisciplinary criteria (environmental, technical, safety, social, and economic).

But not only that. We will also draw on extensive study and guidance materials on industry best practices. As decommissioning projects in Brazil are relatively recent and present particularities that can make them more complex and challenging than those already carried out in the rest of the world, we have to be careful. 

We understand that the best practices and lessons learned from the world industry must be considered, but customized solutions must also be developed, guaranteeing safety and respect for the environment.

Comparative Evaluation of Decommissioning Alternatives for Subsea Systems

Its purpose is to determine, on a case-by-case basis and based on a multicriteria analysis methodology, the preferred decommissioning alternative for subsea installations. It takes into consideration demands related to environmental protection, social and economic impacts, operational safety, and technical and economic feasibility, and it indicates the methods for the cases of permanence, partial, or complete removal of the structure, observing the following criteria:
Image demonstrating Petrobras' commitments
Benefits of Using Comparative Evaluation of Decommissioning Alternatives
  • It adds information of a different nature about some common basis, allowing a broad view of how various aspects and their relations influence the decision-making with regard to the allocation of subsea installations.
  • It facilitates and supports decision making and choosing between alternatives.
  • It facilitates finding a better balanced alternative considering the various aspects involved in the decision.
  • It allows sensitivity analyzes and the assessment of how the results are impacted by technical-scientific uncertainties.
  • It makes the decision-making process traceable and transparent, allowing the verification/analysis by the stakeholders involved.
Main stages of the Comparative Evaluation of Decommissioning Alternatives
  1. Delimit the scope and gather information about the structure that will be decommissioned, as well as the social and environmental scenario in which it operates.
  2. Previously analyze all alternatives and exclude those that are unfeasible under a certain criterion (technical, environmental, social, safety, or economic).  
  3. Carry out supporting technical and social and environmental studies.
  4. Evaluate alternatives with the help of a multidisciplinary group of specialists, highlighting the assumptions adopted and the “calculation memory”, so that the entire evaluation is traceable.
  5. Finally, identify the most suitable alternative.

Green model for allocation of units

Since late 2022, the allocation of our floating platforms has followed a green disposal model that ensures the application of environmental and human rights rules throughout the entire supply chain. It also guarantees the proper disposal of decommissioning materials, in alignment with best industry practices and the principles set out in the UN International Bill of Human Rights. That shows our focus on sustainability and ensures sustainable disposals.

This green recycling policy for vessels provides for:

  • The implementation of waste-reduction actions, prevention of impacts on biodiversity, in addition to the reuse of equipment and the promotion of the circular economy.
  • Recycle in shipyards equipped with technological solutions, such as dry docks or waterproofed land with an effective drainage system, which guarantee the containment of contaminants resulting from dismantling activities, preventing their release into the environment.
  • An inventory of materials drafted in advance, to ensure that the shipyard has an appropriate recycling plan.
  • The safe recycling of the vessel fleet, protecting the environment and people working in the recycling yards.
  • Compliance with the requirements of the European Union Ship Recycling Resolution No. 1257/2013, in the case of international shipyards. In the case of Brazilian shipyards, operating licenses and compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations on the environment, safety, and health of workers, including the management of subcontractors.
  • Acting in compliance with the commitments to which we are signatories, including measures of corruption control and respect for internationally recognized human rights
Through this policy, the company expands its control over the recycling of its units, guaranteeing that recycling activities take place in line with the best ESG practices of the world industry and focus on generating value, sustainability, safety, and respect for people and the environment.

Everything you need to know about decommissioning

When the life cycle of a production system comes to an end, companies start to demobilize equipment This process is called decommissioning. Below we present ten curiosities that may help you understand a little more about this process.
1. What is the expected investment for decommissioning?
The 2023-2027 Petrobras Strategic Plan expects to spend US$ 9.8 billion in decommissioning activities, including the company's participation in partial decommissioning costs in some decommissioned fields.
2. What are the criteria used by the industry to determine that a field will enter the decommissioning phase?

Petrobras prioritizes solutions for the continuity and maximization of production whenever possible. This can happen through the extension of installed systems' production; the replacement of old systems with new systems in projects of area revitalization; technological partnerships; or the assignment of rights (sale) of areas that no longer fit into the company's strategic portfolio.

The decommissioning of a system can occur either partially or completely depending on which strategy generates the most value for the company. It can also happen when concession and charter contracts are terminated, or when opportunities for production extension are exhausted.
3. How many platforms will be decommissioned in the coming years?
The next platforms to be decommissioned in the coming years are P-32, P-33 and P-26, in the Campos Basin; and FPSO Capixaba, in the Jubarte field, in Espírito Santo. The 2023-2027 Strategic Planning provides for the decommissioning of 26 platforms by 2027, and another 26 platforms by 2030. This planning includes both fixed and floating, owned and chartered platforms, and is reviewed annually, in line with the company's multi-year strategic plan.
4. What are the decommissioning costs of a production system?

The decommissioning of a production system includes several activities, such as the proper cleaning of the systems, waste treatment and disposal in compliance with environmental legislation, plugging of wells, disconnection of subsea systems, and the disposal of the platform itself, according to the decommissioning plan previously approved by IBAMA, ANP and the Brazilian Navy.

Most of the decommissioning costs refer to the permanent deactivation of the wells, which consists of installing cement plugs for the safe isolation of the reservoirs using appropriate equipment. The deactivation of wells is an activity mastered by the industry, and it has specific regulations and good practice guides consolidated in the world.
6. Are there any regulations on decommissioning?

The ANP Resolution No. 817/2020 specifically addresses the issue and it establishes the requirements for evaluating and planning decommissioning projects, and our operational activities comply with several existing regulatory instruments. For each project, detailed analyses are necessary to propose a solution for the three major groups of activities: platform allocation; safe plugging of wells; disposal of subsea systems.

These analyses take into account environmental, personnel and operational safety aspects, in addition to technical, social, economic, and sustainability factors. Projects are submitted to Ibama, the Navy and ANP for approval before activities begin.
6. What measures will Petrobras adopt to monitor decommissioned areas?
Along with decommissioning projects, operators must submit a Post-Decommissioning Monitoring Plan that is approved by Ibama, the Navy and ANP. This plan depends on variables such as the environmental characteristics of the area and the decommissioning solutions adopted.
7. Why is Petrobras decommissioning platforms in the Marlim and Voador fields?

The decommissioning of Marlim and Voador production systems is associated with the implementation of new units that will replace the platforms to be removed. The implementation of the new systems is scheduled for 2023. They will make it possible to increase the current production of these fields from around 40,000 barrels per day to 150,000 barrels per day. With this change, we estimate a reduction of up to 60% in carbon emissions associated with the production of these fields.

More than extending the useful life of the fields, investments in revitalization will provide countless gains not only for Petrobras, but for society as a whole. In addition to the obvious financial returns generated by the greater production of the fields over time, the robust investments to be made by Petrobras in the revitalization of the Campos Basin will spread and extend the positive impact — such as the movement of economic activity and the creation of jobs.

Which platforms have already been decommissioned?

In 2021, five platforms were removed (three fixed platforms at Cação, in Espírito Santo, the FPSO Piranema Spirit, in Sergipe, and the floating production unit P-15, in the Campos Basin), and in 2022, the P-7 and P-32 in 2023 were also removed. Petrobras has previously decommissioned platforms P-12, P-27, P-34, FPSO Brasil, FPSO Marlim Sul, FPSO Cidade de Rio das Ostras.

Out of the floating platforms previously decommissioned, only P-12, P-27, P-34, P-15, P-7 and P-32 were owned by us and were sold in public auction following the applicable regulatory requirements. The Cação fixed platforms (PCA-1, PCA-2, and PCA-3) were removed from their location, off the coast of the state of Espírito Santo, and dismantled through an EPRD (Engineering, Preparation, Removal, and Disposal) contract, which ensures the forwarding of decommissioning materials for recycling and the correct final disposal of waste.

Do a search:


Search suggestions

Link do botão
Ícone do botão Exibir mais resultados
Ícone de carregamento

Most searched

Fuel price


Team Petrobras




Choose a channel:





Big Text




Select a language: